I woke up Sunday morning to find an email from a screenplay contest I entered letting me know that the list of winners was posted and that I was not one of them. I had a brief moment of pain, then closed the email. I submit a lot so, in turn, I receive a lot of rejections. There was nothing out of the ordinary about this one at all. My reactions to rejections used to be fairly heinous. I used to swear never to write again or go for a whole day being depressed whenever I received one. Now, I'm so used to it that I have about a minute of horrible crushing agony, then I shrug it off and move on.
This one stayed with me for an hour or so. It wasn't that I cared about the contest that much, though admittedly, I would have cared about it greatly if I had won. If I'd won, it would have been the most important contest ever, period. The reason I felt bad for a full hour instead of just a moment was that after closing the email, I opened the file for the screenplay and saw that I had done nine drafts, six plot outlines and character journals. I also had this screenplay critiqued by fellow writers and even paid for a critique - which I will never do again. My point is, I worked hard on the story and tried to make it something different and interesting and a movie I would like to watch.
I want to make this clear, I'm not trying to whine. Every writer knows that he/she will be rejected. If you do any research in this area then you know that most writers get rejected a lot, even the most famous most talented and best selling authors get rejected. This is, unfortunately for our egos and our wallets, the life we chose.
Even though it's embarrassing, I have to admit I sulked. All that hard work and just to get rejected. I thought about giving up writing. I laid in bed and tried to will myself to cry but I'm really adverse to tears so that didn't happen. In short, I acted like a spoiled child. At least my husband was still asleep so there were no witnesses to my childish behavior. Well, I guess except for those reading this blog. It can be our secret.
I'm not as good at sulking as I used to be. After about forty minutes, I got bored. To get myself back on track, I lay in bed with my face to the window and thought about all the good things going on right now both in life and writing. I am getting a short story published by the new literary website/anthology Mixer Publishing - my piece will be out in August. I just polished up a play. I've been a semi-finalist recently for a few contests. My career isn't taking off like a rocket but I'm making some slow and steady progress. I'm gearing up to self-publish a novel. I've already got my next few projects planned out a bit. Life, in general, is going pretty well.
After five minutes of these more positive and balanced thoughts, I felt fine. I have to do this little mental reboot on occasion. During bad weeks, I may have to do it daily. It's a technique I discovered in college. Negative breeds negative. Positive thoughts make me calmer and happier and far more productive.
Anyone else have techniques they use to get through life's little hiccups?